Due to a general lack of information, people believe that auto insurance compensation equates to a blank check when and if they are involved in an auto collision that is the fault of another motorist. Unfortunately, the reality of compensation in the event of sustaining a major injury in an automobile accident can bring people to a jarring realization.
The minimum liability insurance for drivers in Washington State is $25,000 USD for injury or death per person, and $50,000 USD for injury or death per accident.
To offer an example, if a person is injured through the fault of a motorist, and sustains $50,000 in medical costs, and the value of the claim is worth $150,000, but the tortfeasor (the person responsible for the crash) is only covered for $25,000 of liability, the injured person can only recoup that $25,000 in liability.
If the tortfeasor only has the minimum liability required by law, they probably don’t have assets to reach, and even if they do, because the claim is negligence and not deliberate, they can likely claim bankruptcy and have the debt expunged.
UIM assumes the responsibility to the limit of the person’s coverage for their protection against a un- or under-insured motorist.
This type of insurance is purely voluntary, but if the coverage is declined the Washington state insurance provider is required by law to provide signed proof of the policyholder opting to pass on the coverage. If the policy was taken out over the internet, there will be a checkbox that must be ticked, but if taken out in person there will be a hard copy of a form on file. However, it would be extremely unwise to decline UIM coverage.
One of the lesser-known aspects of UIM is the fact that it tracks liability coverage. This means that if the policyholder should be at fault in an accident, the UIM insurance will cover the holder in case the liability is greater than what the policy holder’s coverage allows.
It should be readily apparent at this point, just how valuable UIM insurance can be. Washington state currently stands as the seventh most uninsured state in America with over seventeen percent of its motorists uninsured. A single catastrophic incident has the potential for life-altering consequences. It is also wise to remember that this insurance doesn’t necessarily equal excessive premiums.
The largest expense when taking out an insurance policy is the policy itself so once past the initial cost, additional coverage such as collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, do not tend to inflate premiums appreciably more.
When all factors are considered it is clear that the informed and prepared motorist simply cannot afford to not have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance protection.
Contact Wiener & Lambka if you need to consult with an expert lawyer today!